From food to fitness, health coach and Lululemon ambassador Heidi Jones makes daily workouts achievable and debunks health myths. Here's how to make this month a healthy one.
The 30 minute rule. Is anything less than that pointless?
No physical movement is pointless. It’s great to aim for 30 minutes a day, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. But don’t let that be your escuse to do nothing at all. A 10 minute walk is far more beneficial to your health than sitting at your desk.
There’s a lot of debate surrounding the effectiveness of weight training as opposed to cardio, what do you suggest?
I always suggest experimenting and finding out what works best for you. Some people do better with more gentle exercise like yoga, while others require more vigorous activity such as cross-fit or HITT training. It’s important for overall body health and longevity to keep a regular routine of movement that includes strength, cardio and flexibility.
Do low intensity activities such as yoga and stretching count as workouts?
Absolutely, but the secret to success is consistency. Developing a regular exercise routine to suit your body type and lifestyle will have numerous rewards. If you’re feeling tight and tense, a gentler exercise like yoga will help increase lightness and flexibility.
What workouts would you suggest in order to keep the month varied and most importantly fun?
Listen to what your body is craving. Movement is a lot like food, once you understand how different types of movement nourish your body in different ways, you can put together a menu of activities to keep yourself in balance.
Where would you start?
Craving fun? Think about what you loved to do as a kid. Feeling weak and unfocused? Go to an empowering strength workout such as cross-fit and kick-boxing. Stuck in the office all day and missing the outdoors? Become part of a community such as the LuluLemon run club #morethanmiles and join their next outdoor sweat event.
(The next Lululemon Run Club is held on march 31st. Meeting point: Lululemon Marina Mall Duabi store, Saturday 8am, find out more here.)
Should we build swimming in to the routine?
It’s a great cardio workout and you can make your session as high intensity or low intensity as you like. It’s also one of the physical movements that helps increase lightless and flexibility, I recommend hitting the pool when you are feeling tense and tight after a stressful day at the office.
After one month of daily exercise, what results can we expect?
Results are different for everyone, but what it will do is support weight management (and for some weight loss); improve digestion; lower blood pressure; and decrease inflammation in the body. I suggest everyone to track their progress over the course of a month. Perhaps set a goal, for example increasing distance of walks over the course of a month or mastering a yoga move – this focus will help increase overall fitness levels.
What food do you suggest pre-workout?
Choose healthy carbohydrates such as bananas, dates, oats and brown rice.
And for post-workout?
Choose lean proteins such as leafy greens, plant based protein powder, eggs and white fish. Don’t forget to add in some healthy fats too, these help you feel more satisfied and fuller for longer, choose avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
Would you recommend any supplements to help aid rest periods?
Magnesium helps regulate melatonin and works to calm down the nervous system and helps you fall asleep. Many of my clients have said they felt instant improvement in their sleep patterns by supplementing 400mg magnesium each evening before bed.
How can we make the most of the Middle East in springtime?
One of the biggest changes I made to create a more positive relationship to exercise was to take myself outside and enjoy spending time in nature. I enjoy spending time out in the mountains, especially at this time of year in the U.A.E. I recommend that my clients go out and experiment and find out what makes them feel ‘alive’. If you don’t know where to start, think about what you did as a kid. Did you bike? Hike? Surf? Climb? Run? Sail? Set yourself a goal and go for it!
Heidi Jones is an Advanced Integrative Health Coach (CHC), Certified International Health Coach (CIHC) and member of the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC), follow her blog here.